Harry Motor Neurone Disease Case Study

Harry is a 57-year-old man who has been diagnosed 12 months ago with Motor Neurone Disease.

After discussions with his family, neurologist and GP Harry completed a Health Direction 6 months ago which clearly states that if his health deteriorates that he does not want specific treatments such as physiotherapy, antibiotic therapy and admission to intensive care that prolongs his life.

Over the last couple of days Harry has developed a chesty cough, rattily breathing indicating a chest infection, this morning his wife finds Harry is confused and disorientated with a high fever, and he is transferred via ambulance to the emergency department along with a copy of his Health Directive.

In the emergency department, Harry cannot communicate effectively due to his current acute illness. Harry’s wife explains to the health professionals that Harry had in recent times come to terms with his diagnosis, and that he was looking forward to the upcoming birth of their first grandchild in approximately 5 months’ time and an interstate family holiday after that.

Harry’s wife expressed that she thought Harry would want to be treated for his severe chest infection if it were anticipated that the treatment would be effective.

QUESTION FIVE (5): Considering Harry’s advanced refusal (within the Health Direction), analyse the most relevant ethical and legal considerations that the team of health professionals must assess to determine their next steps.

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